I’m a big fan of clever sayings, especially those that advance my life’s agenda, bring wisdom into my heart and succinctly state what I so fervently want to utilize and follow. My husband recently told me about this one above, author apparently unknown, but soon to appear on a T-Shirt near you. I know I’ve blogged on this before so it must be one of my favorite subjects, albeit one I work on almost daily. It’s so dang clever, isn’t it? I do admire nimble wits especially if they are telling me something I need to hear.
People who say they have no regrets probably don’t do introspection or are not telling the truth; either that or they are below the age of twelve. If you live a full life you are bound to have regrets. The “what ifs” return time and again to haunt you. The “if onlys are fast on their heels.
“What if my Dad had been a loving healthy father and not the child sexual abuse perpetrator that he was? What if my mom had been a loving healthy mother and not the child sexual abuse perpetrator that she was?” Maybe I could have gone to college. Perhaps I would have made only healthy choices in mates. I might even have had a literary career where they were totally supportive in helping me advance my goals in life. Oh well. They weren’t and I didn’t. (at least not until I got into recovery and learned how to advance my goals myself)
So what good does all of that childish speculation do? I always say that you should look back only to learn and look forward only to plan. That’s not exactly a die-hard rule. I often find myself wool-gathering as I think on my growing up years, remember past mates and past choices. I do introspection to the max. Not good. Too much introspection causes suicide or so I heard. As Scarlett O’Hara put it, looking back can drag at your heart. Do you want that? If your childhood was painful, use that pain to find a way to heal, to REPAIR the past. Holding onto it brings only grief and keeps you in a continuing victim cycle. After awhile being a victim becomes such a large part of your life that you look for it everywhere; you talk about it; you expect it. It is the cross you bear.
So how to avoid this? Look ahead no matter what age you are. Even a 95 year old can look forward to dinner, to a movie, to seeing a friend or family member. I always think the best years of my life are ahead of me. I don’t know why I think that since I’m the matriarch (being the matriarch technically means a woman who controls a family and I don’t do control – they are all on their own – I’m having enough trouble controlling me) of a huge family that includes 4 grown children, 14 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. That means I have a few miles on me. My son, a few years ago, at a Christmas gathering looked at all of the hectic scrambling for gifts by the little ones, all the back and forth laughter and sharing and said, “Mom, just think, if you had never been born none of us would be here.” True, true.
If I had never been through recovery for incest I would not be in the position I am. I faced all my demons, I redid my thinking, I learned how to make healthy choices, I learned how to forgive myself, my parents and my abusive ex-spouses and mostly I learned how to move forward and become the happiest person I know. It’s not easy. In fact, recovery was the hardest thing I ever did. But it was worth it.
Today, I mostly think about how I want to spend my day, what I want to accomplish, goals that I’m moving forward on and just enjoying life. So much that I have only dreamed about has already happened so why not optimistically expect the rest of my dreams to materialize as well. What you put your attention on grows.
You can do the same. Let go of yesterday. For someone abused as a child it really is too heavy.
Check out my website at www.thelamplighters.org and my writer’s website at http://thelamplighters.org/marjoriewrites/. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or if I can help in any way.
The world is so full of a number of things; I’m sure we should all be happy as kings. Robert Louis Stevenson